A serviceable addition to the small group of books that deal with death for the youngest audiences.

GOODBYE, GRANDPA

Young Bear experiences the loss of his grandpa, but his good friends help him through the experience.

Bird brings the light-brown Bear over to a gray bear who’s seemingly asleep on the ground. As Bear weeps, and Chicken arrives with a first-aid kit thinking Bear is wounded, Elephant explains death, saying: “When you’re dead, you can’t talk, move, or breathe. You’re no longer alive.” Elephant organizes a simple ceremony: “We are going to say goodbye to your grandpa.” Bear creates a special gift: “A drawing of a fish!” Chicken makes a bouquet of yellow flowers, the kind Grandpa liked. They form a procession, and each one does something special near the body. “Chicken lays down her flowers and Elephant trumpets a song. / …[Bear] finds a good spot for his drawing and gives Grandpa one last long hug.” As night falls, the friends make a fire and speak of Grandpa tenderly. Thoughtful adults can use this simple book with its heartfelt text and solemn, cartoon animals to explain death to young children, although there is one jarring sentence in this (uncredited) translation from Dutch. When the animals approach the dead body for their ceremony, the text reads: “It feels weird, sad, and a little exciting, too.” Caregivers may find “exciting” the wrong word for these circumstances.

A serviceable addition to the small group of books that deal with death for the youngest audiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-373-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text.

KINDNESS GROWS

Rhyming verses about kindness using a consistent metaphor of widening cracks versus blooming plants are amplified by cutouts on each page.

The art and layout are spectacular, from the cover through the double-page spreads near the end. Racially diverse toddlers are shown engaging in various moods and behaviors, some of which create unhappiness and some of which lead to friendship and happiness. Every page’s color palette and composition perfectly complement the narrative. The initial verso shows two children in aggressive stances, backgrounded by a dark, partly moonlit sky. Between them is a slender, crooked cutout. The large-type text reads: “It all / starts / with a / crack / that we can hardly see. / It happens when we shout / or if we disagree.” The recto shows two children in sunlight, with one offering a pretty leaf to the other, and the rhyme addresses the good that grows from kindness. In this image, the crooked die cut forms the trunk of a tiny sapling. Until the final double-page spreads, the art follows this clever setup: dark deeds and a crack on the left, and good deeds and a growing tree on the right. Unfortunately, the text is far from the equal of the art: It is banal and preachy, and it does not even scan well without some effort on the part of whomever is reading it. Still, the youngest children will solemnly agree with the do’s and don’ts, and they may decide to memorize a page or two.

Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-229-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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